The Canadian government has announced plans to acquire F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multi-role fighters. Ottawa wants to secure a modest number of the jets until it decides on a real replacement for its current fleet of legacy Hornet fighters—which won’t be the F-35.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada will launch a larger fighter competition next year after it wraps up its defense policy review. But the competition will likely take about five years, which kicks the decision into the next administration.
“We have a capability gap. We have selected the minimum number of aircraft to meet this capability gap here. At the same time, we are launching a full competition and making sure that we take the appropriate time, without cutting corners to get the right airplane,” Sajjan said.
During the 1980s, Canada bought 138 CF-18 Hornets. Canadian CF-18s flew combat missions in the Persian Gulf War, NATO operations in the former Yugoslavia, Libya, and most recently over Iraq against the Islamic State. Despite modest upgrades, however, such as the ability to carry the beyond visual range AMRAAM missile, Joint Directed Attack Munition satellite-guided bombs and Link 16data communications, the planes are increasingly outdated.
Photo: Royal Canadian Air Force